Greg Saad of Saad Development Corp. out of Mobile, Ala., confirms to ABiz that his company has purchased a large portion of the old Evangeline Downs property on I-49 in Carencro for $11 million to develop a distribution center for FedEx Ground. Saad Development's total investment in land, design, permitting and construction is estimated to be $29 million.
This month Saad Development purchased the site, where it will construct a 230,000-square-foot facility — two buildings, including one small security structure — that it will lease to FedEx. Baton Rouge's Daily Report, which broke the story Monday, notes that the local project represents the largest FedEx Ground distribution facility along Interstate 10 between Houston, Texas, and Jacksonville, Fla.
Saad purchased 40 acres and will use the front 20 acres, which once housed the race track’s grandstands, for this development. The northern acreage is for future development, according to company officials.
Evangeline Training Center, a horse training operation, remains to the east of the property.
Saad Development specializes in build-to-suit projects for corporations like FedEx. “We are on project 32 for FedEx across the U.S.,” Greg Saad says. “The project sizes [vary] based on FedEx's need for volume.”
Construction should begin before the end of April, with D. F. Chase out of Nashville, Tenn., serving as general contractor. The project is estimated to take eight to 10 months.
The track closed in 2004, when Evangeline Downs moved to a newly constructed facility in Opelousas, where slot-machine gaming is legal; the property has housed temporary operations for area businesses since then. The seller was Henderson Auctions, which specializes in auctioning large construction equipment and machinery and had owned a portion of the site since 2010, according to Business Report.
Greg Saad was quick to point out that Lafayette was the city where he got his start with FedEx, having developed his first FedEx project in the mid-1990s in Southpark Industrial Park. He says LEDA President and CEO Gregg Gothreaux was his contact then and that LEDA also initially worked with the company on this project. “Life has a way of coming back full circle,” Saad says.